A UN report revealed that Bahraini people waste the most food among Arabs, at an average of 132 kg per capita annually, whereas the total food waste in the Kingdom of Bahrain reached 146 thousand tons during the past year, with a value of about 95 million dinars of food waste. 

The report issued by the UNEP stated that 931 million tons of food are thrown into waste around the world annually, 64% of which comes from households, while the average annual per capita waste of food around the world is about 74 kg. The Food Waste Index stated that 17% of food intended for consumption in stores, households and restaurants goes to waste bins, and 64% of that wasted food comes from households.

Iraq came in second place in the average amount of food waste per capita per year estimated at 120 kg, followed by Saudi Arabia at 105 kg, then Lebanon at 105 kg, followed by Sudan at 97 kg, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and UAE at 95 kg, then Jordan with 93 kg, and then Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia at 91 kg each. According to the CBS of Bahrain, the total daily waste of food in Bahrain has reached more than 400,000 kg, while more than 600,000 kg of food are thrown into the waste during the holy month of Ramadan only! CBS declared that it was able to save 1,390,000 meals, benefiting more than 1,000 families. The foods that were conserved varied between dry food items, which amounted to 604,286 meals, as well as 159,610 meals of cooked food, 50,698 of water, and 5,638 of juices.

The report added that since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Conserving Bounties Society has worked tirelessly to provide food security for nearly 4,000 individuals, 500 families and 2,000 expatriates. CBS collects and packages surplus food from hotels, restaurants, consumer markets and various special events according to the health standards adopted in the Kingdom, and then it redistributes such food to families, expatriate workers and individuals in need throughout the Kingdom of Bahrain.

This initiative helped to significantly reduce the amount of food waste, and thus led to a decrease in the amount of food waste sent to the municipality’s landfill, which negatively affect the environment in comparison to the past.

Within this context, the CEO of CBS, Ahmed Issa Al Kuwaiti, affirmed that CBS is always keen to promote the culture of food conservation and waste management, laying emphasis that its mission is to establish community partnerships with individuals and institutions to save surplus foods and distribute them to the beneficiaries of families and individuals to meet their daily needs of food while adhering to international health and safety standards. “We plan to make the most of the surplus food from hotels, restaurants and various special events, to package and then distribute the same to beneficiaries throughout the Kingdom,” Al Kuwaiti added to “Gulf News.” Al Kuwaiti shed light on the need to educate citizens and residents about the negative aspects of extravagance and waste of surplus food which jeopardize the environment. He emphasized the necessity of moderation in food consumption and consolidated the principle of conserving bounties in all community members.  Al Kuwaiti stated that the Board of Directors of CBS is keen to spread the culture of giving and encourage Bahraini youth to engage in charitable and volunteer work, in order to pull off the reform project of His Majesty King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa, may God protect him and the vision 2030. Al Kuwaiti thanked the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, may God protect him, and thanked the Emir of Youth His Highness Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa for his efforts that empowered many young people and led them to creating a lot of charitable initiatives and projects.

The Board of Directors of CBS, headed by Abdullatif Al Rajhi and his deputy, Sheikh Zeyad bin Faisal Al Khalifa, urged the Bahraini society, individuals and institutions, to support CBS’s goals to reduce food waste, wishing our Kingdom continued success.

Among the consequences of the lockdown imposed by the sudden quarantine measures is that it has led- in Britain at least- to a reduction in the quantities of food wasted at households, as people in the lockdown have become more organized in shopping for groceries and preparing meals.

In order to strengthen these positive habits, a number of senior chefs called for encouraging people to reduce the quantities of wasted food, stressing that the prevailing belief states that this issue concerns the rich countries in which consumers buy more than they eat. However, this study found that “large” quantities of food are wasted everywhere in the world.

Nonetheless, the study prepared by the UNEP did not disclose the difference in food waste between higher and lower income countries, because it did not distinguish between “intentional” waste and “unintentional” waste. Martina Otto of the United Nations Programme said: “We did not investigate the issue thoroughly, but the cold chain in lower-income countries is not always guaranteed due to power availability problems.” The data in the study indicated a difference in the edible and non-edible parts of food, such as bones and shells, as lower-income countries waste much less food than higher-income countries. Nevertheless, the final outcome, as she put it, is that the world “throws away all the resources that were used in the processing of that food.” UNEP Executive Director, Inger Andersen, urges world countries, on the threshold of holding major environmental conferences, to commit to combating food waste and reducing it in half by 2030. She told the “BBC”: “If we want to get serious about tackling climate change, nature degradation, biodiversity, pollution and wastage, businesses, governments and citizens around the world have to do their part to reduce food waste.”

She pointed out that “wasting food accounts for 8 to 10% of greenhouse gas emissions. If wasting food was a state, it would be the third cause of global warming on the face of the earth.” While millions of tons of food are in waste, 690 million people suffer from hunger around the world in 2019. This number is expected to increase significantly during the Corona pandemic.

Source: Gulf News

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